Certain players are simply synonymous with certain numbers. It’s hard to see No. 4 without thinking of Brett Favre. Seven will always be John Elway. A pair of twos right next to each other is Emmitt Smith. And the sight of 56 conjures up memories of Lawrence Taylor.
Those are some of the all-time greats, players who have etched their names in the NFL’s history books. But there are plenty of guys today who are on their way to that type of football immortality, the best in the game who are creating their own legacies.
Are they good enough to become forever linked with their jersey number, however? That’s a level of greatness that few achieve.
To start answering this question, the editors at cover32 first set out to determine who the best players are in 2014 based on numbers. From 1-99, we’ve selected the player who is most synonymous with that particular digit as of right now. The series started with Nos. 1-9, continued with Nos. 10-19, Nos. 20-29, Nos. 30-39, and rolled into Nos. 40-49, Nos. 50-59 and Nos. 60-69, and is now on to the next group.
Are they destined to become an all-time great? Only time will tell. But here’s who is on track at the moment.
70 – Logan Mankins
Mankins is arguably the best guard in all of football, even as he enters his 10th season at the age of 32. He’s earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in each of the past five seasons, showing that he’s certainly not slowing down as he gets toward the tail end of his career; if anything, he’s actually getting better. On an offense that sees a lot of turnover, Tom Brady and Mankins are the two constants in New England.
71 – Jason Peters
After missing the entire 2012 season due to injury, there was some concern about whether or not Peters could return as one of the game’s best tackles. He answered those questions with flying colors, earning first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors again in 2013. The 32-year-old star didn’t have any trouble transitioning to Chip Kelly’s system, earning his sixth consecutive trip (minus 2012) to Hawaii.